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Facebook Was Letting Advertisers Target 'Jew Haters'

Facebook has removed anti-Semitic advertising categories
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2017 5:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – Until this week, advertisers could log onto Facebook and target their ads to people interested in the following:

  • "Jew hater"
  • "How to burn jews"
  • "History of 'why jews ruin the world'"
  • "Hitler did nothing wrong"
ProPublica reports it knows this because it paid $30 to advertise its content to those groups. It says Facebook approved those ads in less than 15 minutes. Upon being informed of this by ProPublica, Facebook removed most of the categories, whose use by advertisers one Facebook official says was "not common or widespread."

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The anti-Semitic advertising categories appeared because Facebook users had listed those terms in their profiles, likely "as an interest, an employer, or a 'field of study.'” Facebook generates its ad categories based on what its users share or do online. Facebook says it will prevent such offensive categories in the future by having human employees review them or by simply having fewer categories. “There are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards,” says a product management director at Facebook. "We know we have more work to do." Facebook advertising practices have been under scrutiny since a report last week that it sold at least $100,000 worth of ads to "inauthentic" accounts with apparent ties to Russia in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. Read the full story here. (Read more Facebook stories.)

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